Finding the perfect place to drink away your troubles ain’t easy—but far from impossible as our carefully vetted, much sampled selection of bars, lounges, drinking holes and other assorted booze purveyors will attest.
This Redlands martini bar isn’t built like Fort Knox, but it’s definitely a worthy pit stop for any bar crawl. Live bands on Saturday nights, $2 well drinks every Tuesday and the array of people in attendance gives this yuppie hangout that one-night-stand kind of atmosphere. (John A. Waterman)
The Vault Martini Bar, 20 E. Vine St., Redlands, (909) 798-2399.
The Salted Pig
The Salted Pig is the brand-new, kinda pricy gastropub in downtown Riverside. Their late-night Happy Hour is awesome with $3 well drinks and half off snacks . . . and this place has this really good organic hard apple cider that’s not on the Happy Hour menu. Makes you feel numb after drinking it. Definitely noteworthy. (Amanda Holguin)
The Salted Pig, 3700 12th St., Riverside, (951) 848-4020; www.thesaltedpig.com. Happy Hour: Mon-Thurs 3PM-6PM, 10PM-1AM.
The Royal Falconer
All right, to set the record straight, chivalry isn’t dead. It’s simply in a Newcastle induced coma. With a solid selection of draft imports and a liquor selection that’ll make even the village drunkard cringe, this tribute to the U.K.’s top recreational sport is a chill spot to grab some authentic English eats and something with a percentage. As Churchill said back in the day, “Difficulties mastered are opportunities won.” And make no mistake, drinking a dozen beers in one sitting is no simple task . . . but it’s one worth mastering. (John A. Waterman)
The Royal Falconer, 106 Orange St. Redlands, (909) 307-8913. Happy Hour: Mon-Fri 4PM-7PM.
The Press Restaurant
Ever fight your way to the front of the bar and have no idea what you want to drink? Well, if you like martinis and you like them fairly strong, The Press never fails to have a good “drink of the day” posted on its chalkboard right as you walk in. While The Press has a pretty good list of beers on tap and bottled, this is a “must have” place for cocktails. Whoever the mixologist was that derived The Press’ creative list of martinis and mixed drinks must have earned his Master’s because no matter how weird it sounds, it almost never fails to be tasty. (Lynn Lieu)
The Press Restaurant, 129 Harvard Ave., Claremont, (900) 652-4808; www.thepressrestaurant.com. Happy Hour: Tue-Sun 3PM-6PM.
If you’re a midnight rider then make your way to The Mav. Trust us, this place has that classic saloon thing down pat with wooden doors and a horse hitch outside (we’re not kidding). The pool is free Sunday through Thursday and if that’s not enough to encourage you to mix things up and mingle around, the Maverick Girls are sure to persuade you. (John A. Waterman)
The Maverick Saloon, 3841 Old Hamner Ave., Norco, (951) 734-6640; mavericksaloonnorco.com. Happy Hour: Open-7PM.
The Lounge Bar is one of those places in town where old timers flock to regale patrons with tall tales of conquest over cheap drinks and cheap talk with patient, but talented, bartenders and an über-friendly staff. Think dive and The Lounge defines it—including pool tables, hillbillies and a digital jukebox with a fresh catalog of tunes. Happy hour specials mostly revolve around discounted drink specials as The Lounge doesn’t really serve food outside of the occasional chips and nuts. Befriend the bouncer on the way in and you’ll have his unfailing loyalty for life . . . or until the next bar fight begins. (Nancy Powell)
The Lounge Bar, 1125 W. 6th St., Corona, (951) 808-9122. Happy Hour: 4PM-7PM daily.
If you’ve got some quarters for the jukebox and some skill with a pool stick, you’ll want to check out The Corral in Chino. With decent drinks, decent food and excellent service, The Corral is a sports bar/dive hybrid that has its own distinct feel. On tap or in the bottle, their beers will go great with their true pride and joy: their steak. A fun, expensive and—one can only imagine—dangerous game to play would be to order a drink for each and every different bit of sports or beer-related memorabilia on the walls. And despite its name, however, The Corral will not let you keep your livestock here. Sorry, Bullseye. (Kevin Longrie)
The Corral Bar & Grill, 12345 S. Mountain Ave #A2, Chino, (909) 613-5995. Happy Hour: Mon-Fri 3PM-7PM.
The Bull Dog Pub
The cozy tavern-y feel of The Bull Dog makes this place an excellent place to get your fill of suds and grape juice—regardless if you wear Union Jack shorts or not. This British pub deserves props for its top-notch fish and chips—plus there’s the requisite dart board and pool to round things out, mate. (Matt Tapia)
The Bull Dog Pub, 1667 Mountain Ave. Upland, (909) 946-6614. Happy Hour: Mon-Fri 3PM-7PM.
Stinger’s Bar & Nightclub
For those in the market to listen to some live tunes while sippin‘ on some booze, then Stinger’s should be near the top of your nightly hit list. Plus, if you’re anyone who knows anything about anything, you know that this venue is always down for some surprise musical guests. Everyone from Atreyu’s Brandon Saller to Circa Survive and LMFAO have dropped a set list here. Not to mention the fact that the hometown hotties behind the bar not only know how to serve you up, but they also just might remember your name when it’s all said and done. (John A. Waterman)
Stinger’s Bar & Nightclub, 194 W. Club Center Dr., San Bernardino, (909) 872-0308; www.stingersbarandnightclub.com. Happy Hour: Mon-Fri noon-7PM.
Sporty’s is pure country; a smoky, dark and dirty shack stuck in a remote corner of Corona, or otherwise known as BFE. Sporty’s might be the honorary stopover for biker gangs and billboard babes modeling stilettos, a place to shoot the breeze and catch a gander at the latest game blasting from the five plasma screen TVs. Karaoke most nights of the week and midweek pool competitions might provide just enough bait to lure revelers back in for an extended nightstand. And did we mention no cover charge for live bands? Or the personalized “bill”-board of raunchy X-rated poetry by overly-intoxicated fans? (Nancy Powell)
Sporty’s, 21779 Temescal Canyon Rd., Corona (951) 277-9786.
Happy Hour: Mon-Fri 4PM-6PM.
Second Avenue Saloon
You won’t find anyone shot and killed over a bad hand of poker here, nor a jangly player piano with a mustachioed, nervous attendant, but you will get the main benefit of vintage saloons (after which Second Avenue Saloon takes its style and name). That is, of course, great booze. They’ve got Stone IPA, and that’s all that matters. Apparently they also show quite a few of the UFC fights, if you’re into that sort of thing. The management discourages actual fighting from breaking out, so if somebody insults your honor over a game of pool, remember that old saloon staple: pistols at high noon. Reach for your beer or reach for the sky. (Kevin Longrie)
Second Avenue Saloon, 271 N. 2nd St., Upland, (909) 946-1750. Happy Hour: Mon-Fri 11AM-7PM.
Pappy and Harriet’s
If you’re looking for a real road house, this is the spot for you. Once a biker bar, Pappy and Harriet’s has long since changed its ways . . . mostly in clientele. The bar/venue/restaurant has maintained its roadhouse ways from serving up cold drinks out of mason jars all way down to the dusty wooden floors. The roadhouse even hosts a good mix of bands from popular indie groups to random Los Angeles artists looking for a place to jam. And while Pappy’s and Harriet’s bartenders can mix up some decent cocktails, this is one of those places you just have to have a beer right out of the bottle. (Lynn Lieu)
Pappy and Harriet’s, 53688 Pioneertown Rd., Pioneertown, (760) 365-5956; www.pappyandharriets.com.
The Music Room
Don’t let the appearance from the outside fool you, this San Bernardino institution (open over 50 years) serves up some of the coldest beer and hottest bikini babes in the IE! If your looking for friendly people in a neighborly atmosphere, this is the place to be! (George Donovan)
The Music Room, 4360 N. Sierra Way, San Bernardino, (909) 883-6513. Happy Hour: 3PM-10PM.
Mission Tobacco Lounge
Sometimes overshadowed by its brightly lit neighbor, the Mission Tobacco Lounge has been hosting live acts, smokers and drinkers throughout the Inland Empire for years. For newcomers, MTL is one of the mellow spots in Downtown Riverside next to Lake Alice. With a separate smoking room, MTL allows patrons to enjoy their cigars inside with their drinks. The bar also serves non-smokers in the main room in perfect proximity to the stage, so all your music enjoying and lounging needs can be met with a nice cool drink. (Lynn Lieu)
Mission Tobacco Lounge, 3630 University Ave., Riverside, (951) 682-4427; www.missiontobaccolounge.com. Happy Hour: Mon-Fri 3PM-7PM.
Liam’s Irish Pub
If you like to keep it green, but it’s still too early for a leprechaun, then Liam’s is the end-all be-all alternative. If the legends be true, this pub’s got the longest happy hour in the IE— which is alcoholic music to my ears. I know what you’re thinking though: You don’t have to worry about taking the little green man off your beer before taking a swig. Just sit back, relax and remember: your good! (John A. Waterman)
Liam’s Irish Pub, 1087 S. Mt. Vernon Ave., Colton, (909) 422-9900; www.myspace.com/liamsirishpubcolton. Happy Hour: Mon-Fri 11AM-6:30PM.
Kim’s Sports Bar
Stop crying into your beer at home because you’ve got a small, standard definition television and no friends with which to watch the game. Kim’s Sports Bar in Riverside has wall-to-wall HD TVs so you wouldn’t be able to avoid the game if you tried. (You can even hear the shouts and calls of excited sports-fans from inside the bathroom stall; pretend they’re cheering you on.) Oh, and the owners will be happy to get you liquored up too, for a reasonable price. (Kevin Longrie)
Kim’s Sports Bar & Grill, 2994 Rubidoux Blvd., Riverside, (95) 686-2200. Happy Hour: 3PM-7PM daily.
Killarney’s Restaurant & Irish Pub
Killarney’s is more than a leading contender for being the best über-bro bar in the Inland Empire, although it’s surely that. It’s also a fantastic place to grab some moderately-priced grub, slam down some happy hours libations or check out some live tunes. And as for St. Patrick’s Day . . . forget about it. Check your shillelagh at the door. (Bill Gerdes)
Killarney’s Restaurant & Irish Pub, 3639 Riverside Plaza Dr. # 532, Riverside, (951) 682-2933; www.killarneys.com. Happy Hour: 3PM-6:30PM.
If you are looking for a fun and friendly place to eat, Joe’s is where it’s at. The restaurant is known for its welcoming and enthusiastic staff—which, I’m sure, keeps the place packed at all times. They have a pretty good selection of crisp beers to accompany their delicious sushi on the menu. Oh, and if you go on your birthday, you are in for a surprise! (Amanda Holguin)
Joe’s Sushi Japanese Restaurant, 9555 Magnolia Avenue, Riverside, (951) 353-1929.
Joe’s Bar & Grill
Joe’s has a lot of the clichés you’d expect from a dive bar: cheapish drinks, rowdy dudes who’ve had exactly 18 months of Muay Thai and are looking for a chance to “defend” themselves, tough-broad waitresses (and the proverbial cute bartender) and a sense of surreal hipness that can only land upon a joint that in no way tries to be hip. And they’ve got a pool table. And they’re close to Kaiser, so if you get some sad news about Aunt Tillie this is the spot to drink away your sorrows. (Bill Gerdes)
Joe’s Bar & Grill, 10909 Magnolia Ave., Riverside, (951) 637-3931.
Hotel Casa 425
The lounge and bar at Hotel Casa 425 remains one of my personal places to relax, enjoy a mixed something-something and crack funnies with my boys. The outdoor living room here is unique and—combined with the firepits—makes for some delightful and classy al fresco boozing. Oh, and try the Garlic Herb Fries. Dee-lish. (Matt Tapia)
Hotel Casa 425, 425 W. First St., Claremont, (909) 624-2272; www.casa425.com. Happy Hour: 4PM-7PM.
Hangar 24 Craft Brewery
Hangar 24 is one of the local craft breweries in the Inland Empire that serves up cold beers weekly. The brewery is built into an old hangar near the Redlands airport. The hangar garage opens to the public seven days a week to serve nothing but good ol‘ Hangar brew. But this isn’t your average brewery equipped with a restaurant to boot, Hangar 24 literally opens its garage doors to the inside of the brewery. It’s got a bar, but if you’re looking for something fancy like a chair, think again. At Hangar 24 you either stand or sit on whatever is available—usually an empty keg. (Lynn Lieu)
Hangar 24 Craft Brewery, 1710 Sessums Dr., Redlands, (909) 389-1400; www.hanger24.brewery.com.
Events Sports Grill
Events is the perfect “sports” bar for our attention-deprived times. It’s got it all. Huge bar, huge and abundant televisions for March Madness—or the latest Heat loss—and literally scads of bar games to peruse through. Plus darts and some decent pub-fare on the menu. So bring your buds, even the one on 25 milligrams of Ritalin, and enjoy one of the better bars in the IE. (Bill Gerdes)
Events Sports Bar & Grill, 10560 Magnolia Ave # A Riverside, (951) 352-2693; www.eventssportsgrill.com.
Duke’s Bar & Grill
Duke’s is the site of the old Frank’s, a legendary spot on the Riverside boozing circuit of the early ’90s; especially on nights Tim Lamb would be on the piano. And now—like a boozy, smoky, greasy phoenix rising from the ashes—we’ve got Duke’s. At Duke’s it’s all about the ambience, the liberal pours and the outside patio area where hijinks can ensue and often do. Duke’s is old school without feeling old. (Bill Gerdes)
Duke’s Bar & Grill, 3221 Iowa Ave., (951) 248-1143. Happy Hour: 4PM-6PM.
This Cajun and Creole fusion restaurant and lounge can easily boast about its cheap drinks and being the new Thursday night hotspot. Be warned: Crescent gets packed as hell, a fact that’s not surprising since it’s made a name for itself as being a go-to destination during downtown’s monthly first-Thursday Artwalk with live paintings by local artists, live music and cool DJs. (Amanda Holguin)
Crescent Jewell Restaurant & Lounge, 3597 Main St., Riverside, (951) 684-1000; crescentjewell.info. Happy Hour: Tues-Sun 3PM-8PM.
With operating hours as random as the many flavors of the state lottery, it might be challenging to figure out when to visit Coyote Beach in its abandoned strip mall locale. Except when the sun does shine and the tropical party gets going, only then does the mood fall somewhere between country music redneck to rockin‘ ’80s excess. Happy hour specials all night long and phenomenal food—the ribs, barbecue and steak consistently top the charts—make the off-peak hours a bit more palatable. But just in case . . . call before you trek on over. (Nancy Powell)
Coyote Beach, 835 N. Main St., Corona (951) 371-2225.
Citrus City Grille
Yeah, it sucks that the Citrus City Grille at the Riverside Plaza closed . . . but the one at the Dos Lagos shopping center is alive and well. They’ve got a great Happy Hour menu (Five bucks for BBQ Pork Sliders!). The atmosphere is super chill and relaxing; not like every other place during Happy Hour that gets packed with hundreds of drunken idiots. (Amanda Holguin)
Citrus City Grille, 2765 Lakeshore Dr., Corona, (951) 277-2888; ww.citruscitygrille.com. Happy Hour: Sat-Thurs 3PM-close, Fri-Sat 3PM-7PM, 9PM-close.
With Karaoke Fridays, DJs, and every sport imaginable lighting up the bountiful televisions, Chulas in Ontario is the place to go for nightlife. And the management is nice enough to offer, if you want to get away from those distractions and focus on your drink/meal, ample outdoor seating. Their biggest attraction, however, is in-house championship boxing (often, I’m told, with celebrity judges). The word is still out on whether or not they’ll let you start your own fight club, though. (Kevin Longrie)
Chulas Restaurant & Sports Bar, 401 N. Euclid Ave., Ontario, (909) 391-1000. Happy Hour: Mon-Fri 2PM-8PM.
Last time I checked this is America, and if I want a rib eye steak to go along with my beer then who’s to say otherwise? With all-American cuisine and a full bar, the people at the Black Horse Tavern have definitely got friends in low places. And remember, you can’t catch a DUI riding a horse, so make use of that four-legged friend of yours. (John A. Waterman)
Black Horse Tavern, 1825 Hamner Ave. #A, Norco, (951) 278-2771.
Art’s Bar & Grill
From fans of Sunday morning football to the hung-over crowed shambling in at 9:30 in the morning, the red-brick building known as Arts in downtown Riverside has been luring patrons in for years with its dim lighting, meat-and-potatoes menu and reputation for kick-ass Bloody Marys. This place has been a staple in the area—and deservedly so. (Matt Tapia)
Art’s Bar and Grill, 3357 University Ave., Riverside, (951) 683-9520.
The Hip Kitty
For the past three years, The Hip Kitty in Claremont has been recognized in our annual “Best of IE” issue for its classy cool-cat vibe and a knack for creating fondue that goes with just about any be-bop combo. Tuesday night is a fave night to hit this place up because of its cool DJs, ambience and good crowd. (Amanda Holguin)
Hip Kitty Jazz & Fondue Lounge, 502 W. 1st St., Claremont, (909) 447-6700; www.hipkittyjazz.com.